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The Night Manager (2016)
Have Watch the Entire Series in one or two days...Just Great
Aside from being as infectious as Homeland, for me the most amazing aspect of The Night Manager was the performance of Hugh Laurie. I have found it hard over the decades re imagining the buffoon in Black Adder gradually becoming more and more serious in his roles and now this as an evil arms dealer. His transformation is complete. Yet I do miss Bertie Wooster.
This mini series,unlike other adapted Le Carre' books, is filled with action and steamy romance, highlighted by Tom Hiddleston, who has to be a top contender as the new James Bond. His suave appearance coupled with that of a rugged action man is a great fit for 007.
The Night Manager is about the life of a wealthy illegal arms dealer (Laurie) and the efforts of a small British security office to bring him down.From start to finish there's not a dull moment as hero Hiddleston goes from a hotelier to a British deep cover spy.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
So Bad I Could Hardly Wait Until it was Over
Neighbors 2 is nothing more than a remake of Neighbors, set in a middle class residential area where only one family is disturbed by a wild sorority locating next door, where there are no zoning and noise laws, no cops to keep the peace, allowing vandalism, mayhem and open drug use. Poetic license and suspending disbelief goes to absurd extremes in this flick.
While I loved films such as Pineapple Express for the wacky adult humor,this turkey might appeal the a pre teen's mentality if it wasn't loaded with profanities and sexual crudeness.
I find it hard to fathom why a guy like Seth Rogen, who helped write the script, as well as starring, couldn't come up with something that had a tiny bit of believability. Admittedly there were a few laughs,but far between. Old time slapstick was funny. This was just stupid and inane. I guess next we may possibly see Neighbors 3...LGBT Rising.
Dad's Army (2016)
A Big Mistake
Trying to duplicate an evergreen TV series such as Dad's Army is about as plausible as trying to re boot Laurel and Hardy.
This was a unique show fronted by unique characters. The plots were simple and depended a bit on slapstick, but more than anything the presence of the late Arthur Lowe. Unfortunately, Toby Jones couldn't come near character of the stuffy but lovable Capt. Mainwaring. Without that it's not Dad's Army.
The production is filled with top actors such as Bill Patterson,Tom Courtenay and Catherine Zita Jones. But they had little to work with in a rather unfunny script for a far too serious plot. Bill Nighy does his best at stayed Sgt.Wilson. But he had little to work with against an equally unfunny Jones. I wasn't expecting too much from this film,so I wasn't disappointed a great deal.
The Escort (2015)
An Enjoyable Rom/Com that Deserved Better Marketing
The Escort is in the news these days, college girls paying their tuition by prostitution. Yet this rather cute rom/com is about a Stanford grad who winds up doing just that, too. But, this flick shouldn't be compared to Pretty Woman...although more lightweight, it still entertains and keeps your attention.
The plot is predictable, a journalist trying to do a story on call girls meets one and is allowed to shadow her providing he acts as her quasi pimp...He eventually falls for her and she for him...in this way it's a bit like the classic Irma Le Douce.
I'm always amazed how decent films like this one never really make it on the big screens.
Hardcore Henry (2015)
To Give this Live Action Computer Game 7 is Stretching it
Hardcore Henry is great for gamers who really don't care about the plot or character development. From start to finish this Russian production is a wild action packed computer game.
The trouble for old geezers like me, I couldn't see what was actually going on for much of the time...for one thing, you never really see and never hear Henry, just his hands and feet...moving through Russia with a gun in his hand shooting at everything that moves.He never utters a word.
The plot, if there was one, evolved into a James Bond type scenario with an evil bad guy having strange unexplained powers. The action takes you into virtual reality where anything seems to be possible, except decent acting and a story.
Irrational Man (2015)
Nice Acting in a Contrived Somewhat Borrowed Plot
Think of Woody Allen's standard intellectual personal angst coupled with the oft used Hitchcock premise for Strangers on a Train, and you have Irrational Man...The story of a washed out BS laden philosophy professor, decently played to a point by Joaquin Phoenix, who can't get it up or find happiness until he realizes fulfillment and virility in a plan to murder someone he feels doesn't deserve to live.
But his action eventually runs afoul of his student and girl friend the always attractive Emma Stone, who gains suspicion after talking to his faculty conquest Parker Posey, who gives a nice dramatic turn.
To be honest, the best thing about Irrational Man is the lovely Rhode Island photography...The film is simply Allen's attempt at rationalizing the actions of an existential narcissist. The plot is thin, very contrived and becomes obvious. At best this should have been a hour long short film.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Weak Plot, Lack of Continuity Makes for Disappointment
Hail Caesar, as a tribute to old Hollywood, had loads of stars, lots of atmosphere, but unlike another L.A. based Coen film, the far superior Big Lebowski, it lacked a strong plot and jumped around so much I had trouble remembering what plot there was.
The highlight was Channing Tatum's dance number, which brought back memories of Gene Kelly. Other than that, there wasn't the usual Coen's biting humor or satire. There were a few funny bits such as a room full of champagne commies talking about the repressed workers from their posh ocean view estate.
But for the most part, seeing Hail Caesar was a non event. Oh, and during the film being made within the film, about Christ's passion, the name Palestine was used as a term for Judea. It would be more than a hundred years for Rome to name the region Syria Palestina.
The 5th Wave (2016)
No More Than a Pilot for So, So Sci Fi TV Series
Good actors can't save a bad script, especially for a sci film that has no real ending just a segueway into a the distant possibility of a sequel. The main problem is The 5th Wave would do better as a TV series. But even on TV you would think this has been done before.
While Chloe Moretz is her usual kick-ass self, the plot doesn't add up, the special effects are cheap and there's no real dramatic resolution.
In shades of Independence Day, a space alien mother ship circles Ohio, eventually causing tidal waves, floods and earthquakes to ravage the land. Yet for some reason, even with all the devastation, Moretz's home seems untouched...equally curious is why her father in the film evacuates the family to a refugee camp...bad move.
There must have been a decent pay check on offer for Moretz and veteran Liev Schreiber to work on this turkey.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
An amusing but overly rated violent, racist Tarantino epic
Come on IMDb there is no way this film could be rated an excellent 8.2. It's rather amusing, filled with more racial slurs than ever for the director. But the plot is plodding, with much padding which makes for the three hour length.
It contains much of Tarantino's frequent ensemble actors plus Jennifer Jsson Leigh, who vies with Kurt Russell for the best performance. The acting throughout is fine as is Tarantino's direction. It's the story that is improbable with a so what, what happens next ending.
The Hateful Eight may be the director's longest film, beautifully shot as his homage to westerns, but it isn't one of his best.
The Lobster (2015)
More a Turkey than Lobster: Farrell Revives his True Detective Personna for an Exercize in Dramatic Futility
I can't see the point of making The Lobster other than being experimental dramatic production geared towards Colin Farrell's downtrodden character similar to his depressing role in True Detective.
It would have helped this bizarre film if it has been preceded by a literary introduction as a scene setter. Instead the audience,if there is one, is shown a film that isn't sci-fi or even a fantasy but rather and allegory or metaphor for human relationships vs. society.
This is strictly an art house film and even then those viewing it may want their money back. I won't try to offer a synopsis because I am not sure of what I watched. In the end it was not a pleasing experience.